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Hailed by critics during the 1980s as the decade's 'Great American Playwright', Sam Shepard has since continued to produce work in a wide array of media including short prose, films, plays, performances and screenplays. Like Samuel Beckett and Tennessee Williams in their autumnal years, Shepard relentlessly presses the potentialities and possibilities of theatre. This is the first volume to consider Shepard's later work and career in detail and ranges across his work produced since the late 1980s.
Shepard's directorial debut Far North (1988) served as the beginning of a new cycle of work. He returned to the stage with the politically engagedStates of Shock (1991) which resembled neither his earlier plays nor his family cycle. With both Far Northand States of Shock, Shepard signaled a transition into a phase in which he would experiment in form, subject and media for the next two decades. Skelton's comprehensive study includes consideration of his work in films such asHamlet (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) andBrothers (2009); issues of authenticity in the film and screenplay Don't Come Knocking (2005) and the playKicking a Dead Horse (2007); of memory and trauma in Simpatico, The Late Henry Moss and When the World was Green, and of masculine and conservative narratives inStates of Shock and The God of Hell.